We’re Living In a ‘Gin-naissance’

When I tell people what I do, more often than not they’ll say; ‘You work in the drinks industry? Well you must meet my cousin/brother/girlfriend/dog walker/vicar – they’ve just created their own gin brand. They use tomatoes/upcycled carpet/autumn leaves in their distillation process!’

Slight exaggeration, but you catch my drift. In the UK alone there has been a distillery boom. The increasing popularity of gin is causing this rise in the number of distilleries being opened.
In 2017, a total of 49 new distilleries opened and a further 31 in 2018.
I think it’s fair to say, we’re living in a ‘gin-naissance’

To add to that, gin brands from abroad are wanting their share of our massive UK gin lake, causing a very congested scene. 

Some would say that a new gin brand entering the UK market, would be mad to, down to the shear weight of competition. I will argue that good brands will always succeed in an expanding market. 

Learning Lessons

Let’s take a look at examples of other congested categories in different parts of the hospitality industry, to see that this is true. 

Pizza, there are hundreds of restaurants with huge loyal followings and vast marketing budgets.

Think Pizza Express, Dominos and Pizza Hut. Then we have Franco Manca and Pizza Pilgrims, who have shown that there is still room to enter and succeed in a very congested market.

This ultimately comes down to:

  • Solid products
  • Good branding and back story
  • Innovative marketing 
  • A great price point. 

They attract people in with a familiar product, a unique selling point, have a sound enough offer and back story to win repeat business and dedicated followers. 

My point is, good brands will succeed no matter how competitive a market is, because they have thought through every aspect of their offer and executed it correctly.  

Back to the story

Let’s get back to what we’re really here for, booze. Gin specifically, to build a successful brand you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to be successful, in fact if you go off piste with your concept it’s often hard for people to get their heads around. 

Good liquid, great branding and a reasonable price point are all basic building blocks to creating a cut through product.  

Good liquid should be a given, but surprisingly a lot of gins on the market don’t even make it this far.

Branding can be subjective, however a strong back story will pull the whole brand together. 

Target market

When building a successful gin brand, your target market or if you will, your gin drinkers, are who you should be aiming to please. You will have to win over several different sets of people: 

  • Regular drinkers – whether that be the at home drinker or the in bar drinker
  • Bar staff – they will be the one’s recommending good brands to customers
  • Buyers – supermarkets, online and wholesalers. 

Obviously the most important set to win over is the consumer – your regular drinker. However, you need to have a product that is right for the others too, otherwise there will be limited distribution.

The brand has got to appeal to the gatekeepers who are bombarded with new brands every day. 

If you’ve been selling gin around London over the past year or so, you will be used to the glazed look appearing on faces when you say the words: ‘I’ve got this new gin I’d like to talk to you about’. Having a gin which grabs their attention is essential. 

How is your brand going to stand out from the crowd? 

Without connecting with the modern consumer at an emotional level you won’t get regular consumers and dedicated followers. How can you do this?

Tell a Story

Products that are produced locally have been in a real boom in the past decade, led by the ‘craft beer’ revolution.

Who hasn’t seen a new craft beer pop up every time you visit a bar? 

Everyone loves to say they have a distillery or a brewery in their postcode or town There are dozens of examples of local producers around the country. 

Being a local producer is a very obvious way of connecting with people locally, however breaking out of that market can prove difficult, if that’s what you’ve based your brand story on.  

A gin with a big message and reason to buy it is One Gin. They give money to helping provide clean water in developing countries. 

Your marketing message doesn’t have to be a worthy cause to attract loyal customers. It could be a backstory that resonates with people and gives them a happy feeling when they’re drinking your product. 

Get the Branding Right

A great example of how all the elements can come together well, is Manly Spirits from Sydney: stunning liquid and branding paint a picture of that idyllic Australian oceanside living, a great escape for us Brits suffering in the ‘Spring’ climate. 

Simply looking at the bottle or smelling the gin transports you to the long pristine beaches of Manly.

They use this selling point in their social media and marketing by playing on that oceanside lifestyle. This appeal is attractive to a wide range of people – not just Home and Away viewers. 

Where does all of this leave the person looking to get into the gin market? 

Potentially create a brand message and a reason to buy the gin before you start developing the liquid and its branding. 

A gin brand I really like is Kuro.

They don’t have their own distillery and it’s not distilled in Japan – which is where their inspiration came from. Gin isn’t even traditional in Japan.

However, they have got a great story about the inspiration for the brand with quality liquid and branding that’s distinctive. 

You take one look at the bottle and one sip of the gin and you get it – it really is that simple. 

Whilst it might be simple, often things that look simple and straightforward are hard to execute. Having knowledge of the industry and what works will give a brand owner a big advantage, but that shouldn’t put off newcomers to the industry. 

Originally written By Phil Harding and posted on LinkedIn on April 17th 2019

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Boom or Bust?

 

The alcohol industry has many similarities to the fashion industry. Drinks come in and out of season, and we’re always talking about the latest trend, or what the new tipple of the seasonwill be.

 

Like the fashion industry, trends are recycled over the years and ‘old fashioned’ drinks can suddenly become the drink. Look at what happened with spritzes over the past few years!

 

People in the industry have been talking about rum becoming ‘the next big thing’. There has been talk that the gin boom will start to drop off, (we’re not sure about that) but we do know, waiting for its decline in sales will be rum. A drink that sits quietly but confidently in the back of the drinks cabinet, awaiting its next pour.

 

It’s unrealistic to expect that we will have a gin style drinks boom every few years, we’re living in a gin-aissance and the popularity shows no sign of letting up. Trying to measure rum’s growth against gin’s success could well turn you to the bottle – but it’s not all doom and gloom.

 

 

 

The Nitty Gritty

 

If you look into the figures, you’ll see some very encouraging trends within the rum market.

 

The number of rum brands in the UK has almost quadrupled in the past 12 years to just under 200. The amount people are spending on rum is increasing, and whilst rum is not growing at the same rate as gin, it has broken through the £1 billion sales mark in the UK.

 

Like every drinks category, the big names in rum still dominate the volume of sales, however it’s great to see more independent brands emerging – many of them being home grown brands.

 

We still see plenty of brands who import their rum into the UK, then blend or add spices – nothing wrong with that at all. However, there are some new, exciting, UK distilled rums starting to spring up.

 

Home Made

 

The industry has demonstrated amazing amounts of self-confidence in their ability to domestically produce great tasting rum.

 

These distillers aren’t afraid to experiment in an old and well established drinks category and say- ‘hey, we can produce a rum which is as good, if not better, than ones from the Caribbean.’

 

Many nations have started to produce high quality whisky – India, Japan, Australia to mention a few, why shouldn’t a nation in colder climates produce great rums?

 

 

Old Salt Rum from the English Distillery in Cambridge has proved that you don’t necessarily need to import your liquid to create a multi award winning rum. Greensand Ridge in Kent is starting to produce some cracking rums too!

 

Matugga Rum – which started its journey at the same distillery as Old Salt Rum, is now distilled in Scotland. They show that British rum can unite various ingredients and influences to produce a world class tipple.

 

East African ingredients, West Indian influence and English oak make their rums a great example of how fusing traditions does work – even if they are matured in a much chiller country.

 

 

Where to Now?

 

It is clear to us, there is a quiet revolution going on in the background of the drinks industry and the liquid gold is creeping up the popularity ranks.

 

Consumer awareness will always drive growth in the premium section of a category and that’s what is happening with rum.

 

No longer are people just using white rum to make mojitos, people are willing to spend more on rum, looking for more interesting flavours and even buying super-premium rums to invest in.

 

Bar owners are noticing a trend in people exploring the market of different rum brands and a willingness to pay more for the more premium brands.

 

This is an encouraging sign, which will hopefully be reflected in the much larger, home consumption market.

 

What’s the right serve for premium rum?

 

 

Rum Serves

 

Gin has been lucky in the fact that a G&T is already an established serve, premiumised just at the right time by Fever Tree tonic.

 

Great gin can be mixed with a premium tonic and an interesting garnish at home or in your local bar to make it feel special. 

 

Hey, you might even get lucky and have it served in a balloon glass!

 

Gin has been lucky in the fact that a G&T is already an established serve, premiumised just at the right time by Fever Tree tonic.

 

Great gin can be mixed with a premium tonic and an interesting garnish at home or in your local bar to make it feel special. 

 

Hey, you might even get lucky and have it served in a balloon glass!

 

When it comes to rum, there is no such serve that can be premiumised in my opinion. Rum and coke is fine for white rums or spiced rums, but you really don’t want to be mixing a premium rum with coke – even if it is Coca Cola from a bottle and not Pepsi from a soda gun!

 

This leaves the rum drinker without an obvious go to, easy to make, long rum drink – although there are some great examples now of mixer brands who have liquids that are fantastic to mix with rum – think Lixir Tonics or Sekforde Mixers.

 

If someone cracks this rum serve, I believe the premium rum category could expand a lot quicker than the present rate.

 

Originally posted on LinkedIn by Phil Harding on 28th May 2019

 

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We’re Living In a ‘Gin-naissance’

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When I tell people what I do, more often than not they’ll say; ‘You work in the drinks industry? Well you must meet my cousin/brother/girlfriend/dog walker/vicar - they’ve just created their own gin brand. They use tomatoes/upcycled carpet/autumn leaves in their...

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Manly Spirits Launches in UK’s biggest gin subscription Craft Gin Club

Craft Gin Club is the UK’s largest online gin subscription club with over 33k members (August 2019) from all corners of the UK. Boutique Bar Brands worked closely with Craft Clubs for around a year to secure the Manly Spirits listing for August 2019 in order to time perfectly for their ‘Making Waves’ ocean theme box.

With only 12 gins chosen every year to feature in their members boxes, the Craft Gin Club selection process is gruelling to say the least. They only select the best looking, best tasting gins from around the world which they think their members will fall in love with.

The results are in, and the feedback to Manly Spirits Australian Dry Gin was phenomenal. ‘Manly Gin’ was the highest searched gin phrase in the UK in August 2019!

  • 339,340 had the chance to try Manly Spirits Australian Dry Gin
  • Consumers loved the flavour, giving the gin an average score 8.6 out of 10
  • Members rated the gin the BEST EVER BRANDED GIN over the past three years (2017-2019) with a score of 9.32 out of 10
  • The Manly Spirits Craft Gin Club campaign reached 5.23 MILLION PEOPLE in August 2019:
    • 102,000 readers of Craft Gin Magazine
    • 1 million website visitors
    • Social media posts reached 3.87million people
    • 260,000 email newsletters were opened by recipients

We are delighted that the response to Manly Spirits was so strong.  With such incredible branding and a liquid to match, we have high hopes for Manly Spirits in the UK.

 

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We’re Living In a ‘Gin-naissance’

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When I tell people what I do, more often than not they’ll say; ‘You work in the drinks industry? Well you must meet my cousin/brother/girlfriend/dog walker/vicar - they’ve just created their own gin brand. They use tomatoes/upcycled carpet/autumn leaves in their...

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Manly Spirits Launches in UK's biggest gin subscription Craft Gin Club Craft Gin Club is the UK's largest online gin subscription club with over 33k members (August 2019) from all corners of the UK. Boutique Bar Brands worked closely with Craft Clubs for around a year...

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Here at BBB, we are delighted to announce that The London Distillery Company (TLDC) has appointed BBB as their exclusive distributor for Great Britain. While the TLDC range is currently widely available in the premium on-trade around London as well as via Fortnum...

read more
The Gin Guide Finalists Announced

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THE GIN GUIDE AWARDS 2019 - FINALISTS Following an intensive period of tasting and judging by 10 expert judges, The Gin Guide Awards 2019 list of finalists has been announced.  We are delighted that Manly Spirits Australian Dry Gin received high enough scores across...

read more

The London Distillery Company joins BBB’s portfolio

Here at BBB, we are delighted to announce that The London Distillery Company (TLDC) has appointed BBB as their exclusive distributor for Great Britain.

While the TLDC range is currently widely available in the premium on-trade around London as well as via Fortnum & Mason, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer TLDC strongly believes BBB are the best partner to deliver the distillery’s next phase of growth.

TLDC Chief Executive Killian O’Sullivan speaking about the new partnership said:
“To grow It was key for us that we find a partner who shared our values regarding spirits education, inspiring bartenders and who wanted to take our range of spirits to consumers beyond London. Great Britain is a demanding and challenging market. BBB are share our values and understand how to address these challenges. We clicked with the BBB team immediately and our approach to building brands is very similar.”

The entire BBB team is really excited to be taking on the range of spirits from TLDC. Every one of them is award winning and the Dodd’s and Kew Organic brands are some of the strongest in the trade from the craft sector. Having a London based distillery is opens up huge possibilities for us and how we engage with the trade.

The Gin Guide Finalists Announced

THE GIN GUIDE AWARDS 2019 – FINALISTS
Following an intensive period of tasting and judging by 10 expert judges, The Gin Guide Awards 2019 list of finalists has been announced.  We are delighted that Manly Spirits Australian Dry Gin received high enough scores across all the judges to progress into the final of the London Dry Category.  The margins were apparently extremely fine, with a large number of entries missing the threshold, so Tim Stones Head Distiller of Manly Spirits deserves huge credit.

Final tastings and verification by The Gin Guide judging panel will now take place to determine the winners in each category, as well as collating scores to determine the regional high scorers.  We shall wait and see how the Australian Dry Gin gets on….

View the finalists here: https://www.theginguide.com/2019-finalists.html

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